Architectural Salvage

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    • #710305

      Two months ago, I was in the Sun Alliance building on Dawson Street, a 1970s office block which incorporates a ceiling salvaged from a C18th house which previously occupied the site, and the security guard told me that it was to be taken down and re-erected in the new Sun Alliance building in Dundrum. This ceiling was one of three in the house (all were salvaged) described in the Georgian Society Records.
      I know of buildings where the façades are facsimiles and yet are listed (they were not retained from original building, they are brand new reproductions, and even of varying quality). I am not suggesting that the ceiling necessarily should remain on the site where it originated (the other two appear to be elsewhere), should there not be, or is there, some inventory of architectural fittings and/or distinguished examples of craftsmanship like this, which allows them to be protected? Does anyone on the forum consider these ceilings to be comparable to a native work of art, which many would argue should remain in Ireland (many someone can tell me if there is any legislation on this) and its whereabouts/ownership known? The probably with treating something like this like a quality piece of antique furniture that can be bought and sold in a fairly straightforward way (as opposed to an important artwork) is that it is not unknown for great expense to be incurred re-installing ceilings in different buildings which are subsequently demolished, with the same ceilings still inside and being destroyed in the process. If planners are unaware of the presence of these ceilings in buildings (sometimes in 70s office blocks!), they cannot be expected to make provisions for their (re-)salvage. I know from personal experience that it is not unknown for planners to lack crucial information when making decisions (e.g. an important early C18th house in Kilmacud demolished in 1998 because the Heritage Council referred to it by a name that had not been used since the 19th century in their argument against granting permission to demolish). And while there is more to C18th architecture than stuccowork, occasionally protection for these buildings has been justified on the basis of the same. Basically what I’m saying is that there should be some kind of inventory of distinguished examples of craftsmanship that are no longer in the buildings for which they were created, which will afford planners the information they reqiure in setting conditions etc. I would like to note that in recent years an auction took place at a C18th house in Blackrock, Co. Dublin (Lios an Uisce) where a mantelpiece in the house was advertised as one of the ‘contents’ of the house, as opposed to being part of the house (planning laws now protect interiors of listed buildings – in the past, selling a mantelpiece would have been easy enough hence many of the listed C18th houses in south inner city no longer have their original mantelpieces). This was illegal, yet it was only possible to bring this to planners’ attention because the auction was public. I am also aware of a number of private individuals who own substantial collections of architectural artefacts. I am not sure if it would be correct to publish all of their names on a public forum, but one widely-known example is Peter Pearson. These individuals are unlikely to be interested in the monetary value of their collections on the architectural salvage/antiques market, but of course, circumstances which allow these items to change hands occur (e.g. Daithi Hanley’s passing), and an inventory would allow the important items to be tracked. I have listed a few examples below, of course, not all (e.g. cast iron columns) would count as distinguished examples of craftsmanship:
       Weaver’s Hall foundation stone & doorcase (probably one in hall, not façade one) in private collections
       Coved ceiling of staircase hall of Hibernian Hotel on Dawson St
       Marble fireplace from 3 Kildare Place now in Dublin Castle
       Ceiling frpm 76 stephen’s green
       Cast iron columns from Corn Exchange Dublin on Burgh Quay in Mount Brandon hotel Tralee
      Doorcase of Westmoreland or Lock Hospital, re-erected after demolition of hospital in garden of private home on Hill of Howth
       Ceiling of 49 O’Connell street re-erected in private Wicklow home
       Abbey theatre frontage – Daithy Hanley
       Staircase of Old Bawn with mantel (dated 1635) in National Museum (I doubt they’ve lost it but I couldn’t find it there and staff knew nothing)
       Entrance doorway of Santry Court
       Ceiling from Johnstown Kennedy House, Co. Dublin
       One of conference rooms in Custom House contains late neo-classical stucco-work from library of Hilltown House, Bellewstown, Co Meath
       Apollo Room from Tracton House, St Stephen’s Green
       Limestone portico at entrance to Ulster Bank Group Centre at George’s Quay: (from Richmond House, near Nenagh, Co. Tipperary)
       Eyrecourt staircase (in Detroit!)
       Glenageary Hall classical relief panels (I’m almost certain I saw one of these attached pretty randomly to a wall in the National Concert Hall, at a location almost guaranteed to allow easy damage)
      Dublin Civic Museum (their collection includes a plaque from Molyneux House, Peter Street). Fittings in Dublin Castle and the Custom House are likely to be secure, however, those in private homes may not be, and in all cases, an inventory would be invaluable in establishing and recordig the pedigree of these items.

    • #805413

      Done many a project but there is no way that i know off,of taking down a lath and plaster ceiling without it breaking plaster relief yes you can cut around them and the cornice but not the L&P

    • #805414

      Due to the overwhelming interest in my original post, I thought it would be wrong not to attach an item showing where that ceiling from Gilbey’s in O’Connell Street ended up:

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